AP-NC Newswatch

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July 17, 2019
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July 17, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT



Dem US House hopeful to propose expanding national service
MINT HILL, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Democrat in a U.S. House special election plans to propose broadly increasing national service programs to better tie the country together.
Dan McCready makes his pitch Wednesday in suburban Charlotte alongside retired U.S. Army four-star general Stanley McChrystal. He’s the former head of the Joint Special Operations Command who later headed forces in Afghanistan.
McCready is expected to propose quadrupling the size of AmeriCorps, the program that now places 75,000 young people to work in early childhood education and environmental conservation. Participants get a living allowance and help paying for higher education.
McCready says he hopes increasing national service pulls people together, something he experienced in the Marine Corps.
A similar proposal by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) could cost $20 billion over 10 years.



Trump headlines administration’s visits to North Carolina
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – President Donald Trump is returning to North Carolina for a campaign rally in a likely presidential battleground state that he won in 2016.
Trump was scheduled to address thousands inside Smith-Williams Arena at East Carolina University on Wednesday. He’ll arrive while still taking criticism for his tweet urging four Democratic congresswomen of color to return to their countries.
Wednesday is eventful for the Trump administration in North Carolina. Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend a private fundraiser for 9th Congressional District candidate Dan Bishop in Fayetteville and then speak to Fort Bragg military personnel and guests before joining Trump in Greenville.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will be in Raleigh to talk about her tax credit proposal designed to expand school-choice options. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is among event participants.



NC firm fires worker over invoice for ‘poka honas’
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A Valvoline Instant Oil Change in North Carolina has fired a worker over an invoice that called a customer “poka honas,” an apparent reference to Pocahontas.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports a photograph of the Asheville business’ invoice posted online Monday shows the customer’s address as Raccoon Trail, a street that doesn’t exist in the city. The person who posted the invoice online said the customer is a person of color. That person’s identity remains publicly unknown, and the newspaper says the customer wasn’t immediately available to comment.
Valvoline spokesman Sean Cornett says the service center immediately fired the worker and apologized to the customer. He says the company’s response underscores its intolerance to discrimination of any kind.



Ex-county commissioner indicted on fraud charge
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A horse owner and former county official in North Carolina is accused by prosecutors of funneling public money meant to boost the local economy into remote businesses that staged or promoted equestrian shows.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release on Tuesday that an indictment lists multiple fraud charges against 64-year-old Ellen Madans Frost, a former Buncombe County Commissioner.
According to the news release, the indictment says that between 2014 and 2017, Frost conspired with ex-Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene to misapply $575,000 in economic development incentive funds to support equestrian enterprises in North Carolina. Florida and New York.
Prosecutors say Frost and Greene tried to hide the scheme by using the funds to promote the Asheville Regional Airport, which isn’t governed or funded by the county.



NC Dem takes big-bucks lead over GOP rival in US House redo
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Democrat in a North Carolina U.S. House special election ordered after a ballot-collection scandal has a big lead in the money race over his Republican rival to represent a GOP-leaning district.
Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission late Monday showed Democrat Dan McCready collected double the contributions as Republican Dan Bishop since late April.
McCready reported raising $1.37 million in the 9th Congressional District race and Bishop $655,000 during the period, which included the Republican primary in which Bishop won the GOP nomination over nine other candidates.
McCready had almost $1.8 million in cash at the start of July to spend ahead of September’s special election. That’s five times as much as Bishop.
Vice President Mike Pence is headlining a Bishop fundraiser Wednesday in Fayetteville.



Cunningham, Tucker lend to campaigns challenging Tillis
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – New political rivals of well-funded North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis are tapping into personal money to help get their campaigns off the ground.
The federal campaign finance report from Tillis’s 2020 re-election campaign shows it raised $1.9 million during the three months ending June 30 and had $4.4 million in its coffers to start the second half of 2019.
GOP primary challenger Garland Tucker reported he loaned his campaign committee $700,000 while raising another $339,000 from the time he entered the race in early May. The campaign had $108,000 in the bank entering July.
Democrat Cal Cunningham announced his candidacy in mid-June and already reported raising $522,000 in addition to lending his campaign $200,000. Cash on hand was $683,000.
Second-quarter finance reports were due Monday.



Distilleries benefit in NC alcohol bill given final OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina distilleries would benefit from eased regulations to sell their own products on-site and market them at Alcoholic Beverage Control stores in legislation heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
The Senate agreed on Tuesday to accept House changes to the measure, designed in part to help encourage growth in the manufacturing of spirituous liquor in the state.
The bill would allow liquor tastings at local ABC stores, with a focus on creating opportunities for in-state distillers. An earlier annual limit on how many bottles distilleries can sell directly to people who tour their operations would be removed.
Separately, the bill makes clear that most licensed establishments can sell two beers or glasses of wine to a single customer and would permit bingo game operators to sell alcoholic beverages.



With budget deal absent, legislators consider stopgap plans
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Chances that a North Carolina budget standoff between Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is soon resolved appear small enough that GOP legislators are looking to spend more funds to keep state government humming.
Negotiations between Cooper and GOP lawmakers on a compromise have gone nowhere since Cooper vetoed the budget in late June. And Republicans also have tried without success to override Cooper’s veto.
Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday it’s clear Cooper won’t budge on the budget unless Medicaid expansion is approved. Cooper’s office says while there’s no “Medicaid or nothing” ultimatum, it must be part of budget discussions.
State government continued operating when the new fiscal year began July 1. But House and Senate Republicans are advancing competing stopgap spending measures to cover more spending needs.



AP-WF-07-17-19 1021GMT